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Tag Archives: New Years Eve cocktail

Sliding Doors

Sliding Doors

Image credit: Sliding Doors, 1998

On the cusp of a new year and a new decade, it’s natural to think about the choices we’ve made over the last twelve months. Did we pick the right mate or perhaps dodge a bullet? Are we where we expected to be in our careers, or could we have done something a little bit different to change the trajectory? In the film Sliding Doors (Disc/Download), Gwyneth Paltrow gets to experience both sides of life’s coin to see what a difference one tiny twist of fate can make.

When we meet Anna, she’s a successful PR exec with a boyfriend and very few cares in the world. But when she gets fired for “borrowing” vodka from the company stash, she retreats to the London Underground to catch a train home.  Here’s where the film splits- in one narrative she catches the train, and in the other she doesn’t. If she catches it, she arrives home in time to find her boyfriend cheating on her, setting off a domino effect of smart, brave career choices, a new Scottish love interest, and a fetching short haircut. If she doesn’t, she’s stuck with the philandering boyfriend, multiple crappy waitress jobs, and a long brunette ‘do that does absolutely nothing for her skin tone. But just when it seems like life is just a game of random luck and misfortune, the filmmakers throw us a curve ball and Anna finds herself in exactly the same situation in both narratives. You can miss the train, but you can’t escape fate.

I applaud Sliding Doors for giving us a lot of great alcohol moments. Getting fired will drive anybody to drink, bad boyfriend or not. But my favorite scene is when Gwyneth plays detective with a brandy glass she finds in the laundry basket. Let’s ring in the new year with a festive brandy cocktail, perfect for celebrations and sorrow-drowning alike. While watching Sliding Doors, I recommend drinking a classic Between the Sheets.

Between the Sheets

1 oz Brandy

1 oz Light Rum

1 oz Cointreau

1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Lemon Twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Between the Sheets

No matter what your opinion is on Ms. Goop, you have to admit that she gives us one of the greatest hair moments since Audrey chopped her locks off in Roman Holiday. When her stylist spins the chair around and we see blonde, bright-eyed Gwyneth with the short cut, you instantly know this girl is going to pick herself up from whatever dragged her down. I’ve had two haircuts like this in my life (one just six months ago), and I’m sure I’ll have more in the future. But for right now, on the eve of 2020, my hair is short, and my gaze is hopeful. Cheers!

Boogie Nights

boogie nights

Image credit: Boogie Nights, 1997.

It finally happened- my weekly Cinema Sips post is dropping on the booziest night of the year!  New Year’s Eve deserves a movie featuring disco dancing, kung fu fighting, alcohol and drug-fueled parties in the San Fernando Valley, and a main character with a name so cool it cuts glass. It’s time to watch Boogie Nights (Disc/Download).

This is a great movie for New Year’s Eve because the holiday acts as a touchstone within this meandering tale of the 1970’s pornography industry. Things are rosy for a while– newcomer Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg, in a star-making role) joins a dysfunctional “family” of porn stars, makes a lot of money from his greatest, er… asset, and buys a lot of kooky stuff. As you do. But then the ball drops on 1980 and things spiral out of control. The drugs get harder, certain other things get softer (ahem), and the misfit family splinters. Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson manages to transport his audience to a time and place that’s so specific, it’s as though the characters are trapped in amber.  Even sin looks beautiful under his filter.

One of my favorite scenes involves John C. Reilly’s character Reed Rothchild displaying his bartender skills at a pool party. I have no idea how much tequila he pours in that blender, but it really doesn’t matter; the man is my mixologist hero. Let’s toast this Shakespearean tragedy of a film with a New Year’s twist on an old favorite. While watching Boogie Nights, I recommend drinking a Frozen Amber Margarita.

Frozen Amber Margarita

4 oz silver tequila

2 oz Triple Sec

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz blood orange cocktail mix (I use Stirrings)

1 oz Aperol

1 cup Ice

Sparkling Wine

Combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, Aperol, and cocktail mix in a blender with ice. Blend until frothy, then pour into a champagne flute. Top with Sparkling Wine.

Frozen Amber margarita

New Year’s Eve is always such a strange night. It’s full of hope and reflection, maybe sadness and joy. Wherever you’re at with this holiday, just know that whatever happens in the coming year, you’re gonna be okay. There are movies to watch, there are cocktails to drink, and I’m excited that we get to do it together through Cinema Sips. Cheers!

When Harry Met Sally


Image credit: When Harry Met Sally, 1989

There are very few New Year’s Eve scenes in cinema as satisfying as the one in this week’s film, When Harry Met Sally (DVD/Download). That grand speech at the end about wanting the rest of your life to start right now just gets me every time. Sure Meg Ryan has a bad perm and ridiculous long blue gloves, but I can overlook it all for that speech. Harry Burns is a heck of a guy.

The film begins by asking the age old question, “Can men and women ever really be just friends?” Billy Crystal as Harry says no, Meg Ryan as Sally says yes. They bicker, then meet again 5 years later and bicker about it some more, then meet again 5 years after that and decide that the bickering is silly, become the best of friends, then lovers, then nothing. It sounds like a saga of a movie, but Rob Reiner’s skillful direction and Nora Ephron’s genius script keep things moving along quickly. What results is a clever, sharp film about the relationships between men and women, and the pitfalls that await us all. And oh yeah, Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in Katz’s deli and the whole world freaks out. Quel scandale.

It wouldn’t be New Year’s without a glass of something fizzy in my hand. In homage to Meg Ryan’s big scene, and Rob Reiner’s adorable mother, while watching When Harry Met Sally, I’ll have What She’s Having.

What She’s Having

1 ½ oz gin

¾ oz Cointreau

½ oz Maraschino Liqueur

½ oz lemon juice


Mix gin, Contreau, Maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco.

what shes having

In my experience, it’s totally possible to have a friendly acquaintance of the opposite sex, but extremely rare for that person to be a best friend. I definitely think there’s some truth to what Harry’s saying. I did have one very close male friend once upon a time…. and then I married him. And with any luck I’ll never have to be “out there” again. After all, nobody else could ever tolerate my inability to order anything as-is from a restaurant menu. Sally, you’re not alone. Happy New Year, and Cheers!

The Thin Man

Image credit MGM 1934, The Thin Man

Image credit MGM 1934, The Thin Man

This year for New Year’s Eve, I’m taking the advice of one Cinema Sips reader and watching a classic holiday film, The Thin Man (DVD/Download). By enjoying this movie on one of the most celebratory nights of the year, I can feel like I’m attending a fabulous party, instead of sitting at home in my pajamas, trying desperately to make it to midnight.

The Thin Man is based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name, and it follows former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora as they get pulled into a murder mystery involving old acquaintances. Myrna Loy plays the lovely, entertaining Nora Charles, always with a highball or martini glass in her hand. Her banter with William Powell as Nick Charles makes you wish that all marriages were like this one. Of course it’s easy to be carefree and relaxed when you have oodles of family money in your bank account, but what makes this couple so unique is that they are incredibly funny, smart, and down-to-earth. Plus, they have the most ADORABLE dog named Asta, and I’m a sucker for a smart, well-trained movie pet.

I know New Year’s is traditionally a champagne holiday (and I’ll of course have a cheap bottle from Trader Joe’s chilling in the fridge) but honestly, you can’t watch The Thin Man without a dry gin martini in your hand. It just can’t be done. I have to think that martinis were served in smaller portions when this movie was made. How else to account for Nora Charles asking a waiter to bring her 6 of them? If I have more than 2 I’m a mess. At any rate, while watching The Thin Man, I recommend drinking a Dry Gin Martini. However many you have is totally up to you.

Dry Gin Martini

2 ½ oz Gin

½ oz Dry Vermouth


Shake gin and vermouth (to the tune of your favorite waltz) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an olive.


There’s really nothing I like more than staying home with an old movie and a classic cocktail. So this New Year’s Eve, while other people are paying way too much for their prix-fixe meals and grappling with Uber surcharges, I’ll be sitting at home, warm and cozy, laughing as William Powell delivers pun after delicious pun, and wishing I had Myrna Loy’s fashion sense, wit, and adorable hangover ice pack. I’ll certainly need it Jan 1st. Cheers!